Tabletop RPGs in 2023

Yeah, a bit disappointing. The rumor was that we’d get a repeat of the Pathfinder bundle with Kobold Press stuff, but this is Kobold with Frog God, Troll Lord, Necrotic Gnome, and Nord Games.

Bundle sites are prioritizing OGL 5e stuff because of the reasonable worry that they might not be viable once the new OGL hits.

There is some nice B/X stuff in there, along with Old School Essentials to run it as well as Castles & Crusades, which has been mentioned around the traps as a fine D&D alternative.

I also expect various follow up bundles for completely non-5E stuff in due course.

I mean, I bought it, just to support the devs, and there are a few platform agnostic books, as well as some OSE stuff.

So weird, given how strongly Baker stressed that PbtA was a design philosophy and not an actual system framework in his lengthy but intriguing blog series on the topic.

That said, I’m here for some official from-the-mouth-of-god support on this topic, given that I’m slightly devving a game in that system :D

What is an SRD?

Systems Reference Document!

It might be the case that D&D had the first substantial one released in coordination with the original OGL back in the 3E days, or maybe someone predated that, unsure. In any case, different publishers take it to mean different things, but the general basics are:

  • Convey basic game rules of how to play a given TTRPG in an accessible (usually online) format
  • Likely include content necessary to make characters (albeit perhaps not all options, e.g. stuff from expansions/splatbooks)
  • Possibly include content necessary to GM the game (e.g., monsters, items), but again likely leaving off material beyond the basics
  • Maybe include details on legally expanding the contents of the SRD in 3rd party products for free or maybe sale (may include licensing info)

My favorite SRD these days is the one for Fate by Evil Hat –

They are very, erm, full-featured, basically transcribing the bulk of the rules text from the main Fate books - the original Core rulebook, the faster-to-play Accelerated rules, the newly minted and refined Condensed rules, and even some of the Fate Toolkits that provide details on how to customize the game and some of the Worlds of Fate setting books.

While their SRD doesn’t feature art or some of the example text from the sample campaigns, it’s honestly pretty comprehensive and very searchable/hotlinked together.

In the case of Baker’s stab at a PbtA SRD, it could really wind up being almost anything – a more structured step-by-step guide to thinking through his and Meguey’s design philosophy en route to developing your own game system, perhaps, or maybe a structured stripped-down basic system incorporating some of his preferred expressions of PbtA.

Stupid Rules Document

He specifically says an Apocalypse World SRD, which I think is probably a bit different than trying to encapsulate “PBTA” (which as you say, he’s always insisted is a design philosophy). What that ends up looking like I still couldn’t tell ya.